Early last fall, Kai was showing a lot of signs that he was ready to potty train. However, after a month or so of trying, it became clear that he was too busy to be serious about potty training. I was not about to spend my days wrestling a barely two year into the bathroom, struggling with him as he yelled and cried about not wanting to go to the bathroom. So we stopped.
We're trying again now. I actually stumbled on some good advice from one of the major diaper brands' websites. Usually commercial sites are pretty uninformative and generic but this one from the company that makes Pull-Ups was actually helpful. It provided you with a quiz to take based on your child's personality and then offered up strategies based on what might best help your child. So much better than the one-size-fits-all advice you often get. The quiz suggested that Kai was a squirrel (I already knew that...) and that he moved from one thing to the next quickly and needed things to be interesting and creative in order to keep his attention. (All true, whether potty training or not.) So combining some of the advice from the website plus some other ideas from other places, we're back at it and things seem to be better than before. (I'm probably jinxing myself by just writing that.) Specifically, we are working to make potty training as much of a game as possible. When at home, I've let Kai be without pull ups or pants as much as possible. We've been playing a game with this, a version of the Student-Teacher game if you are familiar with that. If he potties on the floor, then Mama gets a star. But if he uses his potty, then he gets a star and an m and m. I used my chalkboard wall to keep track so he can easily see the stars and I've been pointing out who has more every time so it keeps that feeling of a game. A flat out mess on the floor seems to be more concrete than the idea of keeping a pull up or pair of underwear dry. Now that he seems to be doing pretty well with that, I'm anticipating switching to getting a start for keeping his underwear dry in the next few days and forgoing the bare bum. The other thing I've done is playing a game called "Find the Potty." Instead of keeping the potty in one set locale, every two or three uses, I hide it and then ask him to find it the next time that I prompt him to use the potty. He's really liked searching for it in the different rooms around the house. It's definitely helped with being too busy playing to want to stop to potty since stopping playing means playing a game instead of being interrupted by a task. I've seen lots of stuff on incentivizing using the potty but nothing on the idea of it needing to be a game; so far, making a game and not about rewards has seemed to help.
Of course, we've cleaned up pee, and I have had to be okay with a bare baby bottom touching lots of things in my house. But the biggest oops came today courtesy of Bo. Kai went poo on the potty all by himself, with no prompting. In the middle of all of us cheering and encouraging him, Bo marched right over to the little potty and promptly ate Kai's deposit. And so while we won't be shaming the baby regarding potty training, we will be shaming the Basset Hound. Soooooo gross!